Craft beer pioneer Stone Brewing announced its sale today to Sapporo U.S.A.
The transaction is expected to close in August 2022.
Sapporo intends to produce its Sapporo-branded Japanese beers for U.S. distribution in Stone’s two breweries, in Escondido, CA, and Richmond, VA. Building on existing capabilities, and supported by planned capital investments, Sapporo expects to brew 360,000 barrels in the U.S. by the end of 2024.
This essentially doubles Stone Brewing’s current production.
Sapporo sees this investment as opportunity to gain major brewing capacity on both U.S. coasts, significantly increasing production of its Sapporo-branded beers for the domestic market, according to a press release. At the same time, Sapporo pledges to “preserve Stone’s legacy, culture and innovative approach to craft brewing.”
“We approached Stone Brewing seeking a partner for our growth plans in the U.S., and we quickly recognized they were an ideal partner with bi-coastal brewing capacity, loyal fans, superb management, shared cultural values and commitment to the highest quality standards,” says Kenny Sadai, chairman, Sapporo U.S.A. “This acquisition puts the resources and legacy of the largest Asian beer brand in America together with one of the most innovative and recognized craft beer brands in the world. It’s a perfect fusion of east meets west that is an ideal marriage for Sapporo’s long-term growth strategy in the U.S.”
Under the agreement, Stone Brewing will continue brewing its craft beers at the two breweries, as well as operate its seven taprooms and World Bistro & Gardens destinations with existing branding, management and workforce under the Sapporo umbrella.
“This is the right next chapter for Stone Brewing,” says Greg Koch, cofounder and executive chairman of Stone Brewing. “For 26 years, our amazing team has worked tirelessly to brew beers that have set trends and redefined expectations. To have the interest of a company like Sapporo in continuing the Stone story is a testament to the great beers we’ve created and will continue to create for our fans across the globe.”
Stone is the second acquisition in the growing craft brew segment of Sapporo U.S.A.’s business, following the purchase of Anchor Brewing Co. in 2017.
“I am thrilled that we have the opportunity to join forces with Sapporo,” says Maria Stipp, CEO of Stone Brewing. “This unique partnership allows us to preserve the Stone legacy that our fans know and love and will add exponential opportunities for growth, from production to more investment in people, equipment, sales, and marketing.”
Stone Distributing Co., Stone Brewing’s distribution business, is not part of the sale, and will become an independent company under current ownership, maintaining its current leadership of day-to-day operations. Stone Distributing will continue to service Southern California with a portfolio of 42 craft brands, including Stone Brewing. As a separate entity from Stone Brewing, it will operate as it does today.